Departing PTCB Director Reflects on Evolving Technician Roles

DECEMBER 29, 2017
Ryan Marotta, Associate Editor
As the Executive Director and CEO of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), Everett B. McAllister, RPh, MPA, has both witnessed and shepherded a number of significant changes in the technician profession.

Prior to joining PTCB, McAllister served in the United States Air Force for 26 years, rising to the rank of Colonel; during this time, he worked as the deputy director of the Pharmaceutical Operations Directorate within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, the senior Department of Defense military pharmacist and policy advisor, the pharmacy consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General, and the 11th associate corps chief for pharmacy in the Biomedical Sciences Corps. He retired from the Air Force in 2011 and was named to his current position the following year.

In August 2017, after 5 years with PTCB, McAllister announced that he would leave the organization at the end of the year to pursue a new career in ministry. Before turning the page to this new chapter, McAllister spoke with Pharmacy Times® to reflect upon his career and share his thoughts on the shifting landscape of pharmacy.

Q: What initially drew you to PTCB?
A: The position at PTCB was very attractive to me because of the organization’s mission. I had seen the important role that technicians play in the military, and I felt that joining PTCB in this capacity would allow me to be an advocate for technicians and make a difference as their roles continue to evolve.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you’ve face during your tenure at PTCB?
A:
I prefer to think of them as opportunities rather than challenges. The lack of standards among the technician profession has presented a particularly great opportunity to get folks to recognize the importance of a unified standard; the challenge within that has been working with different viewpoints and interests to get everyone onboard.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest successes?
A:
Something that we want to do and have been working towards is to provide a platform for growth. In particular, one thing that we have long discussed was having specialized certification programs to validate technician’s abilities and skills, and I am happy to see that we will be rolling those programs out soon.

It is important that we recognize the great things that technicians are doing, and as such, we launched initiatives such as the Certified Pharmacy Technician of the Year program, which has been an overwhelming success. I’m also very pleased with the way PTCB has become recognized within the pharmacy community as a leader in technician certification, as well as a resource that can help technicians grow in their roles.

But perhaps what I am most proud of is the notion of advancing the technician profession with collaboration. If we’re going to talk about pharmacists practicing at the top of their license, there needs to be a similar conversation about what knowledge and abilities will be needed from technicians as pharmacists take on more clinical roles. This past February, we had a Pharmacy Technician Stakeholder Consensus Conference, which brought together educators, employers, regulars, associates, and the public to discuss how best to ensure competency of pharmacy technicians. That was a very successful meeting, in part because we found that these different stakeholders had many of the same ideas on creating a unified standard for technicians. That group continues to meet and work towards implementing the recommendations that came out of that meeting. That experience really highlighted the importance of building relationships and investing in the profession.

Q: What advice and suggestions would you give to your successor?
A:
I would tell my successor to embrace the opportunities, to leverage the relationships we’ve built, and use those relationships to continue growing and moving forward. There’s a certain responsibility and expectation that comes with this job, as many technicians looks to PTCB for guidance and support. It’s ultimately crucial for us to remember that it’s all about the patient; our mission to advance medication safety and to help to technicians grow as members of the pharmacy team so that they can better work towards that goal.

Q: What are the next steps for you personally and professionally?
A:
The reason I’m changing gears is because I’m going into ministry. I like what I’m doing, but I’ve felt a call for some time now that I can’t say no to. Right now, I’m discerning what God wants me to do, which seems to be to go to seminary and then see what happens. That’s a big commitment, and one that I don’t take lightly.

Q: Do you have any parting thoughts that you wish to share?
A:
It’s been an honor and privilege to serve in this position. Technicians are the backbone of the pharmacy team, and there is a lot they can do to help improve health outcomes. I thank technicians and pharmacists for what we’ve achieved and the direction that we’re going. There’s still much to be done, but we’ve accomplished a lot in a short time period, and it’s been an immensely rewarding team effort.  

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